On Tuesday, 19 July, several dozen members and supporters of the Collectif Palestine Vaincra and Couserans Palestine came out, with the support of Solidarité Palestine Toulouse, as the end of the 16th stage of the Tour de France, the international cycling race, passed through Foix. As in many cities in Denmark, France and Belgium along the route of the Tour, supporters of justice in Palestine are denouncing the participation of the “Israel Premier Tech” team, a team explicitly devoted to a political mission of whitewashing Israeli crimes through sport.
Amid the scorching heatwave, participants distributed flyers to many onlookers who came to watch the cyclists race. Many people were outraged to learn about this Israeli sportswashing campaign, and several even joined in, holding Palestinian flags and chanting slogans in support of the Palestinian people.
The demonstrators unfurled a massive “Israel out of the Tour de France” banner with high visibility for several hours. Police stationed in the area attempted to intimidate the demonstrators and the deputy prefect of Ariège even intervened in person in an attempt to pressure the participants into putting away the banner. The demonstrators reminded him of the recent decision of the European Court of Human Rights in June 2020, once again upholding the legality of the boycott of Israel in France, noting that it is a legal tool in the battle against racism. Furthermore, they spoke out against the hypocrisy of professional cycling excluding Russian teams from competition while finding nothing wrong with the inclusion of a team explicitly promoting Israeli apartheid. In the end, the action continued without disruption and the banner remained in place.
As the peloton passed, the demonstrators chanted “Boycott Israel” loudly, emphasizing their commitment to the international campaign againt colonialism and racism and in support of the Palestinian resistance, fighting for the Palestinian people’s rights and liberation. These actions will continue to multiply until the conclusion of the Tour de France this Sunday in Paris, with people everywhere denouncing Israel for what it is: a settler colonial project that has oppressed and dispossessed the Palestinian people for over 70 years.
In fact, on Wednesday, 20 July, on the route of the Tour de France to Labarthe-de-Neste, activists and supporters of the Collectif 65 for the Libeation of Georges Abdallah joined with the Collectif Palestine Vaincra to mobilize against the Israel Premier Tech team once again.
Source: Collectif Palestine Vaincra